While the report says China has increased its military footprint in the South China Sea and has placed additional military facilities on man-made islands there, the Pentagon assesses that China is seeking to avoid a conflict. "Finally, as new threats emerge and as other militaries adjust their acquisition, strategies, and structure, China knows the PLA must be prepared to fight in new realms and adapt to the modern, high-tech battlefield".
China's rapid development in the military field is quickly closing the gap with the U.S. and its allies, and the Taiwan question might test the status quo very soon, a report that comprehensively covered China's military development in nearly every aspect, released on Tuesday from the Pentagon's intelligence directorate, concluded.
The Chinese regime considers Taiwan part of its territory that is to be united with the mainland one day, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own constitution, democratically elected government, currency, and military.
Soldiers from Taiwan's special forces move through colored smoke during a military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan.
China has spent increasingly more money each year for more than a decade - including some $200 billion in 2018 - to modernize its weaponry and professionalize its People's Liberation Army, which has roughly 2 million troops, Defense Intelligence Agency officials determined in the report, "China Military Power".
"Beijing's anticipation that foreign forces would intervene in a Taiwan scenario led the PLA to develop a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection", the report stated.
On the technology front, DIA is concerned about advances the Chinese have made in modern weaponry including the unmatched anti-satellite capabilities that it has demonstrated recently and the development of directed-energy weapons and hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound.
China has also outpaced competitors in its ballistic missiles systems, creating more precise systems to carry conventional or nuclear weapons than others including the United States and Russian Federation, largely because those nations were bound by treaty obligations that China was not, according to the DIA assessment.
United States eyes Taiwan risk as China’s military capabilities grow
After making some of the most advanced weapons in the world China is in the cusp of imposing its will in the region, which includes India.
However, China's defense spending remains low when compared to other nations.
A spokesman for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would not bow to Chinese pressure.
"Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency", he was quoted as saying.
"The biggest concern is that they are getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell [President Xi Jinping] they are confident in their capabilities".
Taiwan is well equipped with mostly USA weapons but has been pressing for more advanced gear due to the menacing threat of China.
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Comey at the time was leading an investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 USA presidential election. Trump said he believed the Russian president, contradicting the conclusions of the US intelligence community.